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Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 11:29 PM
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To understand Donald Trump, it can't be emphasized enough that he's a trust-fund bully.

You know, the kind of little sociopathic boy-prince who technically "grew up" but whose excessively narcissistic mind stopped maturing at like, 13 or 14. He's a spoiled rotten little brat who never worked a day in his life, whose used to getting what he wants when he want it, and who takes his impotent rage out on those who can't defend themselves whenever he doesn't get EXACTLY what he wants.

There's no better embodiment of unearned privilege, pathological entitlement, and just unashamed douchiness than Donald Trump. And to top it all off, he's an insecure coward who feels the need to puff himself up just like any fake macho asshole that you may come across in your neighborhood dive bar. That's Trump. That is who he is, and he's 100% unchangeable.

In 1860, many Southern Democrats refused to support their party's racist, non-abolitionist nominee.

Why? Because Stephen Douglas - the official Democratic Party presidential nominee and overall giant of the party in his time, the champion of "popular sovereignty" and "states rights", the political nemesis of Abraham Lincoln in 1858, and who himself was a virulent white supremacist, married to the daughter of a Southern slaveowner, and who had relentlessly smeared Lincoln as a "Black Republican" and a "n---er lover" in the 1858 campaign for the US Senate in Illinois (which Douglas had won) - was not seen as being pro-slavery enough.

See the thing is, the South knew that Lincoln was anti-slavery, and that the Republican Party was itself founded as a basically anti-slavery party. Moreover, the South also knew that by 1860, a Republican could win the Presidency without the votes of the South; they were terrified by this development. They knew what this meant for their "peculiar institution."

And yet, rather than unite behind Douglas, many white, Southern, slave-owning Democrats chose to bolt their party in the name of a pure, unadulterated, and violent defense of slavery - and more importantly, in support of the EXPANSION of slavery into places that didn't have it (read: the Western territories). And when the South's pro-slavery election gamble failed, they seceded from the Union, choosing the utterly evil and perverse institution of human chattel slavery over their country. Some "patriotism," right? Some "heritage."

THAT's why these Nazis and other white supremacists want to keep all these pro-Confederate States of America statues around. They are well aware of what memorializing this history in public, in the 21st century American South really means. And make no mistake: they absolutely want to go back to that era.

What does it mean to be "white?" Is there a *specifically* "white" culture that's worth celebrating?

To illustrate the point: I am white. How do I know this? Well, I have light, fair skin, and my immigrant ancestors came from certain parts of Western and Northern Europe - England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Luxembourg, and likely others. Furthermore, I come from a solidly middle/upper-middle class background, with parents and grandparents who mostly grew up middle class themselves. That's not an explicitly "white" thing, but if you're an American whose parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents (as is the case for me) who - over time and from generation to generation - acquired or otherwise benefited from their parents having acquired certain historically significant levels of education, property, economic opportunity, and overall social mobility - you're almost certainly a white American.

But going back to the ancestry issue: My European ancestors not only came from many places and particular cultures within Europe, but included both Catholics and Protestants. Those things were certainly very important in terms of social and political dynamics and cleavages in both Europe and in the US in the past, but nowadays, for the average middle-class, suburban or small-town white American? That doesn't matter. Being "white" within the American context not only erodes those particular historical identities, but - more pertinent for this topic - is a synonym for not having your skin, your blood, your history, your very identity being "polluted" by the presence of color.

Because how else could I, a liberal Democratic voter living in the San Francisco Bay Area whose ancestors were from the aforementioned countries, have anything that makes me more similar in any respect to small-town or suburban Republican-voting fundamentalist Protestant of "Scots-Irish" or "American" ancestry in (pick your state) than I am to my (also American) neighbors who are of Indian, Iranian, Israeli, Chinese, Mexican, and a wide variety of other ancestries? (and FWIW, people of those particular ancestries easily make up the majority of my neighbors and my community - Euro-Americans like me are a MINORITY here, as we are in the world as a whole...)

Most Nazis - along with their collaborators - never payed for their crimes. Not at all.

- There was no "clean Wehrmacht" (German Army). The "good Germans" myth is for the most part, just that - a myth.

- Erwin Rommel was a fucking Nazi war criminal who was deeply loyal to Hitler (and even though he was executed based on allegations, there's no actual evidence that he was at all involved in the assassination attempt on Hitler in 1944).

- Hitler was massively popular among Germans for most of his time as Fuhrer.

- Austria was not a "victim" of the Nazis.

- The Axis powers were not just Germany, Italy, and Japan, and Germany was not the only country whose leaders and citizens were involved in carrying out or at least facilitating the Holocaust.

- There were plenty of people in other countries besides Germany and Austria (including this country) who admired Hitler and "what he was doing."

- The German civilian population knew that, at the VERY least, that their (Nazi) government was doing horrific thingsto the Jews in Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe during WWII.

- Even well before WWII ended, the Allied leadership absolutely knew that unspeakable crimes were being committed by the Nazis against Jews in Polish camps during the War - and they knew what the purpose of those camps were - but they did nothing (or worse, turned away most Jewish refugees from Europe).

- Card-carrying, ideologically committed Nazi scientists were indeed, recruited in large numbers by the US after WWII for the purposes of fighting the Cold War.

- Many Nazi government officials - including many senior officials - played a critical role in establishing the state/government of West Germany.

- And finally, Nazis, and people like them, are making a comeback these days, and "bigly." And I'm not just talking about Europe here. Obviously.

Those who cannot remember the past (or worse, remember the past in the wrong ways and draw the wrong lessons from it) are...I don't think I need elaborate here.

Even if Trump is impeached or removed from office in some other way, TrumpISM is here to stay.

The genie is out of the bottle on this one. All it will take to regain and cement power would be a more "polished" Trump-like candidate with more harmonious ties to the Republican Party elite than Trump, and with fewer skeletons in his (or her!) closet - or more likely, better-hidden skeletons.

Likewise in regard to many if not most of the reactionary right-wing elite alliances with white supremacists and other ultra-nationalistic, ultra-inflammatory assholes in Europe and elsewhere around the world. And in light of all the present and future disruptions, refugee crises, and such that are caused and fueled by wars, terrorism, genocide, climate change, and other oh-so-wonderful global trends, well...draw your own conclusions about the future of politics and society, in both the United States and around the world.

The thing to understand about Putin is that he was a KGB officer in East Germany in the late 1980s.

For those who don't know, East Germany's main intelligence agency was the Stasi, who were even more brutally powerful and effective than the KGB - arguably, a lot more brutally powerful and effective. I'm certain that Putin had extensive contacts in the Stasi when he was stationed in East Germany, and he very likely remains in contact with many of those same people today - which would help explain why he's been so effective in undermining NATO and sowing discord in Europe (particularly - but by no means exclusively - Eastern Europe, of course) more generally. And yes, why he's been so effective at undermining and throwing into chaos the democratic process in the United States, and manipulating Trump both directly and through their mutual contacts in Russia and elsewhere.

Another thing that might have been forgotten by many is that in the early 90s, as the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc were crumbling (which obviously made a huge impression on Putin, and darkened his view of the West even more than the bleak views of the West that a KGB officer would be expected to hold), some representatives of the "Old Guard" of the USSR - including KGB leadership - attempted to overthrow Gorbachev in a coup. Keyword being attempted. They failed, and Russia transitioned to a "democracy" - but only on paper.

See, the Soviets (and the Tsars before them) had successfully destroyed essentially all civil society within Russia and other parts of the USSR - as did their allies in Eastern Europe. Civil society, of course, is the very foundation of a functioning democracy; certainly, it is critically necessary in a liberal democracy. With little history of civil society or democracy and centuries of ruthlessly authoritarian, and often despotic rule, it was absurdly wishful thinking to believe that Russia would transition to anything resembling a liberal democracy after the Soviet Union collapsed.

This all became painfully obvious in practice, when, under President Boris Yeltsin, the most definitive and lasting change in Russia was the privatization of state resources - which, as we all know, were quickly gobbled up by a bunch of greedy oligarchs with ties to the emerging Russian Mafia/organized crime. As for the vast majority of Russians? Well...that's a depressing fucking story, isn't it?

When a brutal - but in many ways, "stable" - authoritarian regime collapses, and a brief moment of idealistic aspiration is quickly squashed in the form of "meet the new boss...same as the old boss"; when the masses' state-provided standard of living, personal safety, and overall quality of life rapidly drops when that state collapses; and when cynically ambitious members of the "Old Guard" (read: Putin and his allies) seize the moment by promising the masses that they will "Make Russia Great Again" if given power, is it any wonder why so many of those disaffected, disillusioned, fearful, and resentful people in the country would agree to give those particular members of the "Old Guard" the opportunity to become, in effect, the "New Guard?"

No wonder Putin has been so effective.

If anyone has any doubts as to why Trump won the Republican nomination, I have four words for them.

"Where's the birth certificate?"

'Nuff said, right?

Sometimes I ask myself where the fuck they find these Trump administration people.

Then I remember the kind of person Donald Trump is, and the kind of person who would want to work with him, and I stop wondering.

Pictured: Republicans during the Trump Presidency.

I thought that the "suburban/Sun Belt strategy" of the Clinton campaign to win some Republican votes

was pretty stupid. For every Republican vote she picked up in an affluent suburb of the SF Bay Area, Southern California, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, or the Gold Coast of Connecticut, Clinton lost two or three middle or even lower-income white voters in areas of the Midwest and even the Northeast in some cases (particularly white voters without degrees, of course - and I'd argue that these losses to Trump were more disturbing/alarming in the case of women, considering that the race was between the single most prominent icon of feminism in American politics vs. a crassly racist, pathologically narcissistic, and shamelessly mean-spirited billionaire heir and reality TV star who regularly indulges in the most outlandish of conspiracy theories and bragged about his ability to get away with sexually assaulting women).

Furthermore, note that many of those aforementioned areas of the country that swung so dramatically to Trump had voted for Democrats for decades. These were not necessarily lifelong Republican voters, by any means; indeed, some of the same voters that Trump picked up in those crucial swing states voted for Democrats down-ballot even as they didn't vote for Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, Clinton's comparatively modest inroads into Republican suburbs did not help Democrats downballot; most of the voters that she picked up in those places continued to vote Republican for Congress as well as state and local offices. And much of the Obama coalition - including many voters belonging to ethnic and racial minority groups, younger voters (men and women) - either voted for third parties, wrote-in Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or whomever, or simply stayed home. This was obviously very disturbing as well.

Yes, racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, and Islamophobia were all major factors in this election.Hillary Clinton has been treated horribly since 1992 purely because she's a woman in politics - more specifically, a feminist woman in politics. And yes, the media - both the "mainstream media" and the "alt-right" as well as trolls and Fake News (which were often Russian-sponsored, as we are all now painfully aware) gave Hillary Clinton a raw deal in 2016 (and that of course came on top of the decade-long campaign against the very legitimacy of Barack Obama and the agenda of the entire Democratic Party). And yes, Bernie Sanders was marginalized or more often, utterly ignored by much of the media in favor of Donald Trump's billions of dollars of free air time where he could spout his insane bullshit for everyone to see (because crazy brings ratings, and with them, advertising revenue and so on). And yes, the Trump campaign, the broader Republican Party and right-wing troll pundits, the FBI, the media, WikiLeaks, etc. all blew up any hint of a scandal that could be connected to Hillary Clinton (as has been done by many of the same people for over two decades). And yes, the interference from Russia was unprecedented and scary. And yes, Republicans in many states' efforts at voter suppression seemed to pay off for Trump and others. I do not dispute any of these things. But that doesn't mean make the more credible criticisms of Clinton irrelevant (from my point of view and the point of view of many others as well). What happened last year had many causes and with many factors relevant to the outcome, and all of our voices here on this website matter in debating both what happened and how to move forward.

And just for the record, I voted for Clinton and straight-ticket Democratic in both the primaries and the general election, and encouraged others to do the same. And I don't regret any of that, in spite of my disappointment and to a certain extent, disillusionment, which I've clearly stated here in recent months. But I think it's clear that the Democratic Party has some major, arguably systemic problems right now, and I take no pleasure in any acknowledging in any of this.

I truly hope that this party and all of us who vote for it find a way to move forward that both solidifies our current coalition but just as importantly, expands it. Because at the end of the day, the Democratic Party only matters to the extent that it has the power to stand up for those who suffer, those who are marginalized by the economic, social, and political hierarchies embedded in the United States, and dare I say, the extent that the party has to flatten all of those hierarchies to create liberty, justice, and equality for all. That is my hope, at least.
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